Monday, June 30, 2008

The Latest

I was not able to cook much over the weekend. We spent some time with both of our families this weekend and they were kind enough to feed us a few times. Nothing ever tastes as good as my Mom's cooking. I call her quite frequently to get help on some of her recipes I use. In fact we ate beans tonight and the recipe was her very own. They didn't turn out as good as my Mom's usually do but they were filling. I made fried potatoes along with them. Yummy. Justin and I both could eat fried potatoes at every meal! I must say, the potatoes turned out very good.

Last night, which was Sunday night, I made fried green tomatoes (do we eat too much fried food?). I had been craving them for almost a month now and his mom finally had a few come up from her container garden. I was more than happy to take them off of her hands. :) I also grilled a couple of green and red bell peppers in a large grilling pan. They were sooo good. I love bell peppers! Fried green tomatoes and grilled bell peppers for dinner last night - how's that for a somewhat healthy meal. Minus the fried part of the tomatoes.

Tomorrow I am planning on trying a new recipe. Although, I need to use the rest of that spaghetti sauce I had opened so we may just be having regular ole' spaghetti.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mac 'N Cheese Skillet Lasagna

Tonight was experiment dinner #1. It went well. I think. My husband likes anything. He is not picky one bit. I know that no matter how these recipes come out he will sincerely like them. Although, thankfully, he will tell me if he thinks I should have added a little more of this or a little less of that. I am glad for the constructive criticism, however seldom it is. I need him to tell me what he likes and dislikes. After all, he is my husband and he is the main reason why I cook. :)

The menu tonight was Mac & Cheese Skillet Lasagna and garlic bread. Yummm, sounds healthy, doesn't it? I make no promises as to whether or not the recipes I will be trying are healthy. Since I am getting most of them from, you can expect a lot of the meals to include Macaroni 'N Cheese. So if you do not like Mac 'N Cheese, then you probably won't like several of the recipes I am planning to try. I like recipes like this one.. I can recommend it to busy moms. And you know the kids will love anything with Macaroni 'N Cheese!

Here is the recipe:

1 lb. ground beef
1-1/2 cups water
1 pkg. (7-1/4 oz.) Macaroni 'N Cheese Dinner
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) vegetable oil spread or margarine
1/2 cup spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella

Note: The original recipe on includes a lot of name brands. For instance, they call for Kraft Shredded Low-Moisture Mozzarella Cheese instead of regular ole' Mozzarella Cheese. I bought the cheapest kind possible. :)

Step 1: Brown meat in large skillet on medium-high heat; drain.

Step 2: Add water and Macaroni; stir. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover and simmer
7 to 8 minutes or until Macaroni is tender.

Step 3: Stir in Cheese Sauce Mix, milk, vegetable oil spread and spaghetti sauce. Reduce heat to low. Top with mozzarella cheese. Cook until cheese is melted.

I did one thing differently. Not on purpose, of course. Actually, I just realized my mistake while typing out the recipe. :) I used regular vegetable oil instead of vegetable oil spread. I'm not really sure if it made that big of a difference because the meal was still good. The next time I try it, though, I'm going to either add more spaghetti sauce or more cheese or both!

All in all it was a good meal. Quick and Easy. And my husband said he liked it - only because he won't say the word love when referring to anything other then me. ;)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The plan

Lately I have been looking up recipes trying to find cheap, healthy, and easy ways to make meals. We have been married over a year now and I feel like I am just now getting the whole cooking thing down. Simply meaning that I know how to follow directions. Simple directions. As in Macaroni 'N and Cheese directions. As a matter of fact, I always ask my husband to make the Macaroni 'N and Cheese because I have messed it up so many times before. Wow. OK, so maybe I'm not so good at following directions but I can make some yummy vegetables! I love, love, love vegetables. Any and every kind. I like to saute green beans, bake squash with some mozzarella cheese on top, steam broccoli, or cook any other vegetable I can get my hands on. I even like asparagus. One of these days, I'm going to learn how to make fried green tomatoes! (Obviously, I consider tomatoes to be a vegetable. You may not agree.) Yes, I would probably make a great vegetarian.

Now, fruit is a totally different story. I'm not too crazy about fruit. I like all the different colors of fruit. If I had to base my opinion solely on the colors of fruit, I would say that my favorite fruit would be kiwi. And strawberries. And plums. And, of course, the beautiful watermelon. I have not given up hope on my lack of taste for fruit, though. My husband likes fruit very much and is always persuading me to try some kind of exotic fruit... like pineapple.

I really want to improve my cooking skills (or lack there of). So I have been visiting several different websites along with a few blogs to get ideas on what to cook and how to cook well. So far I think my favorite website to find easy recipes is It is loaded with ideas, tips, and recipes for every occasion. Even the day-to-day, mundane, weeknight meal can get exciting with some of these recipes.

Anyway, I plan on keeping you updated on all the new recipes I'm going to try here in the near future. By blogging about what I'm going to be cooking, I figure it will give me motivation to post blogs more often. It will also give me a reason to let my mom and sisters know about my blog so that they can hopefully find a few recipes worth trying. Last but not least, it will keep me accountable in my pursuit of becoming a better cook.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A good book

I am reading A Voice in the Wind, the first of a trilogy by Francine Rivers called The Mark Of the Lion Series. Actually, I have already read the books. I am now reading them to my husband. We've been trying not to watch much TV, and I must say we've done a pretty good job of it. Besides the inevitable that we have to watch like Cardinal's baseball games and the NBA finals that are going on right now, we haven't watched any TV. So in an effort to keep ourselves from turning on the television, I am reading A Voice in the Wind out loud. Quite frankly, it's more for my enjoyment than it is his. I love the trilogy. I love the characters. I love the truths that are presented through the character's flaws and virtues. I love the time setting (right before the fall of the Roman Empire). It is my humble opinion that Francine Rivers did a brilliant job writing these books. Any Christian fiction that can intrigue a Believer to study the Bible, compel them to live more Christ-centered, and assure them of God's faithfulness is well worth reading. I found myself crying, laughing, and rejoicing over God's goodness throughout these books.

There is no missing the significant way Mrs. Rivers portrays God's sovereignty. She does this beautifully through the life of one of the main characters, Haddassah. Haddassah is a Jew who becomes a Christian at a very young age. Haddassah is perhaps the most significant and gripping of all the characters throughout the whole series. During a time in history when Jews and Christians were once again being persecuted, Haddassah remains faithful to the crucial truth that God is in control and He is good no matter what his sovereign will brings forth. The pagan's in the story cannot believe that she would still worship and praise the same God that had destroyed her homeland but Haddassah is not discouraged, for she knows her God is good and wills everything to His good purposes. You will find that she often quotes the Scriptures to reassure herself of His faithfulness.

I find myself inspired by Haddassah's thankful attitude about everything. Her family was destroyed by the Roman's, yet she is still thankful for them and grateful to be working for them. Even when she was starving and had little more than a few grains to eat she still rejoiced and gave thanks for God's faithfulness. At one point in the story we find that she has given away her only coin to a poor Roman mother whose son is away in the legionnaire fighting. When questioned why she would do such a thing when she herself had no money, she hesitantly replied that she had all she needed. She had a roof over her head, food to satisfy her hunger, and clothes to wear. Remember now that Haddassah is a slave, therefore she is treated as such. Her roof over her head could have been nothing more than a small closet to live in with a mattress as hard as a board to sleep on. Her master's were touched by this act of selfless kindness.

Haddassah is a slave and as such is required to do everything her master's bid her to do. But we find that Haddassah is more then just a common slave, she is a servant. She is pleased to serve her masters. She does not do only what is asked of her. She constantly looks for more ways to serve her masters. Not with a prideful attitude that says "look at how hard i work" (that would come easily to someone like me), but with a genuinely humble attitude Haddassah simply serves.

You may be thinking by now that Haddassah's character is beyond human. That her complete selflessness is something beyond our grasp. If you read the book you will find that to be quite false. I have failed to mention that throughout the story Haddassah does have fears. She does have raging emotions. She does feel guilt over sins. Believe it or not, she does sin. Haddassah is simply a depraved human being who has been graciously redeemed by Jesus Christ. And you never question her depravity. You never feel like she is just a character in a book that an author has created to be perfect. No. You will find yourself longing for that same deep conviction that she holds. The conviction that her God is good. Always good. And that He is faithful to those He has redeemed.

I recommend this series to everyone. I only hope that it will stir in you the same need for Christ as it so sincerely did for me.